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Helping make a hot summer hotter

Right on the heels of a report that July was the hottest month in recorded human history — a clear sign of global warming — someone at Mercedes had a great idea for a tweet to advertise a new fiery-red SUV.

“If this summer wasn’t warm enough already, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC will heat things up even more with this red-hot finish,” the tweet said. The criticism came thick and fast that this was no time to be touting an environmentally unfriendly SUV. To make it worse, the vehicle’s carbon-dioxide emissions were posted above the ad.

Mercedes responded humbly: “Folks, that was really not our finest hour. We apologize sincerely. We’re working hard on the transformation of our car fleet. We aim for CO2-neutral mobility.”

Kids, do try this at home

University City High School football and basketball players, among other staffers and students, gave up part of their summer vacation to stuff 750 backpacks with school supplies for younger kids preparing for school in University City, Ferguson and Pattonville. The packs were donated by a Lake Saint Louis couple, Marc and Loretta Mares, as a way of giving back to the community.

“If my father was a plumber, I would have been a plumber. But he was a community servant and he instilled that into me,” Marc Mares told the Post-Dispatch’s Taylor Tiamoyo Harris. “Instead of parents having to figure out how to shop around, every kid gets it at one stop.”

The packs were filled with notebooks, glue, binders, pens, paper and other items to help kids enter school fully equipped to learn while easing the burden of back-to-school shopping for their parents. The gesture of kindness and generosity sends a message all St. Louis students and parents need to hear — and adopt as a guiding principle moving forward.

Home-run response to a racist foul-out

The Texas Rangers baseball team and a generous benefactor stepped up to the plate after a Hispanic family was harassed by another fan during a Rangers home game last Saturday. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Jessica Romero, her husband Ramon and their son Nomar, 6, were sitting in the upper deck when a man behind them started making racist comments. Then he photo-bombed them using an obscene gesture.

Ms. Romero posted about the experience on Facebook Saturday night, hours after a racist gunman attacked a Walmart in El Paso, killing 22. The Rangers offered the Romeros free tickets to another game, while a season-ticket holder offered them front-row seats for an upcoming game.

Big score for the environment

Pakistanis use 55 billion bags per year and apparently haven’t been terribly vigilant about ensuring those bags don’t wind up on the ground to be swept into rivers and streams. The Indus River, which runs the length of the country, carries the bags out to sea. It has become the second-heaviest river contributor to oceanic plastic pollution in the world.

Pakistan is testing a ban on plastic bags starting next week, and anyone caught with one could be fined $70, National Public Radio reported. The ban will be tested in the capital, Islamabad, and its surroundings. Lots of people are upset because bags are typically used as fast-food curry containers — a convenience many don’t want to give up. But Hammad Shamimi, of Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, is quick to note that if governments don’t take assertive steps to address plastic pollution, who will?

Lost in the sun

Not to alarm anyone, but an asteroid capable of taking out a city recently came close to hitting Earth, and scientists never saw it coming. Maybe it’s time to review our systems for detecting threats from the cosmos?

The rock dubbed Asteroid 2019 OK buzzed our planet last month, coming within less than one-fifth the distance of the moon. Despite the ongoing efforts of astronomers to scope out galactic threats, they didn’t announce this one until, literally, hours before it almost hit.

There were a few reasons. As existential threats go, it was relatively small, less than 500 feet across — though big enough that, had it impacted, it would have produced an explosion estimated to be 30 times the size of the one that destroyed Hiroshima. It also came from the direction of the sun, causing scientists to miss it like a pop fly on a sunny afternoon.

Still. There’s a reason we aren’t surrounded by dinosaurs today. The near-miss has sparked appropriate calls for beefed-up attention to deep-space dangers.

Dewey, redux

To anyone who has paid attention these past three years, President Donald Trump’s address to the nation following the past week’s two shooting rampages was a shocking display of hypocrisy. For Trump to decry racial hatred and division without acknowledging all he has done to stoke it is something no serious media outlet should present at face value.

But The New York Times did just that, topping its story with the flattering headline: “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism.” Amid the justifiable outcry, one critic dubbed it “the ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ of racism,” referring to the Chicago Daily Tribune’s historic flub of 1948.

The comparison isn’t perfect; Trump actually did mouth the words summarized in the Times’ headline. But they cried out for context, given his divisive, racist rhetoric lately. The headline spawned outrage among national political figures, news stories in other media and, ultimately, a well-merited Times rewrite of the headline.